Malahini a Plywood Boat being built by Andrew in Tasmania.

Hi, this is the plywood boat that I am building from a classic design by the American designer Glen L .

My name is Andrew Peters and I am building her in Hobart, on the beautiful Australian island of Tasmania.

I own my own custom, picture framing business, Just Frames and I also custom design and make furniture at Made by Magic at 22 Main Road Moonah in Hobart.
Malahini“Faro da Magia” at
The Australian Wooden Boat Festival, February 2011.
The Latest News On Malaini's Build.


My decision to build Malahini was inspired by those highly lacquered Italian speed boats, the sports cars of the sea, such as the classic wooden, exemplary finished, works of art designed and built by Carlo Riva.

I chose the Malahini design for its classic looks and because it was a manageable size for my first boat building project.

I decided to power her with an outboard engine as I figured that it would be easier to install than an inboard for this my first attempt.

She will have a hard chine Vee bottom hull and will be powered by outboard motors.

It will be 15.5 feet long with a beam of 6.5foot,

The Malahini design was developed for sheet plywood planking.


Having cut out and assembled the frames they were attached to the form.

The batons were then attached to the frames.


The sheer and chine are attached to the breasthook which was glued and fastened tothe stem.Malahini by


The sheer and chine were attached at bow having been angled to butt properly to the stem


The sheer and chine attached, these were fastened and glued in position after being sprung around the frames.


The first of that beautiful fiddleback myrtle goes on as the transom is attached to my plywood boat.

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Here I'm starting to attach the underside having faired the various longitudinals. Its important to keep these lines fair for aesthetic as well as performance reasons.


The bottom plywood planks attached at bow and along the centreline of the keel.

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The side planking for my plywood boat being glued up.


Now I'm at the stage where I can start to finish off the hull sides with decorative veneer.

As I live in Tasmania where we have some of the most beautiful timber, I am using Tasmanian Myrtle veneer.


The photo shows a compass rose that have inserted into the sides.

The reason for this was to 'hide' the join between two sheets of ply.

The hull side is approx 5.2 meters long, unfortunately the myrtle veneer which I had laid up on marine ply was a special order and  the sheets only came in 2.4metre lengths.

So instead of just joining two sheets plus a bit extra I thought I would add some detail work and hide the join. Malahini

The starboard underside bow of my plywood boat is now attached.

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After a long delay due to the weather being too cold to do any work on my plywood boat, finally we have had some decent weather.


So I have now glued the second layer onto the rear of the hull on both sides.

Once it has dried (overnight) I can start to Fair (plane smooth) the joins and bog (technical term) up the screw holes ready for finishing.

Once this is all done she can be painted, turned over and fitted out.

However there is still a fair bit to do to my plywood boat.

Plywood on


I started this project about 12 months ago (hard to believe where the time has gone).

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Things I will do differently next time

1. Read the bill of materials properly so that instead of laying up 2 x 3mm marine ply on the sides I would have ordered the correct 6mm ply with the myrtle on it

2. Built a steamer so that I could steam the ply to make it more pliable when fitting especially on the stern curvy bits.

3. Sand and epoxy the myrtle as soon as i put it on to protect it. We had such a wet winter that the myrtle got and remained a bit damp. When this happens with myrtle it goes black and I had to sand out some of this blackness. This I achieved but a bit tricky as it's easy to sand through the veneer.

Apart from that it has been really enjoyable.

There is still lots to do on my plywood boat but looking forward to it.

Now after 110 hours of working on her I have sanded the hull and given it a coat of epoxy.

Plywood boat construction

Myrtle Plywood
Myrtle Veneer

And just look how it has brought out the colour of that beautiful myrtle.

plywood on frame

I have now fitted the splash rail and fibreglassed the joints.

sanding epoxy

I haven't done any fiberglassing before but had some good advice from Laurie.

Still wouldn't try to build a fiberglass boat though.

Employed a professional to help me do some sanding on my plywood boat, (and yes he was wearing a breathing mask just took it off for the photo).

I have now primed and applied the top coat of paint to the bottom of the hull.


The primer I used is ALTEX brand No3 Epoxy primer undercoat. It’s a two part paint.

It is a high build primer and Pete sprayed on about 8 coats one after the other, which filled any small imperfections etc in my plywood boat.

I then sanded it back with 240 then 320 grit.

It sands really well and gives a very smooth finish.

Any imperfections after the sanding I filled and re-sanded.Malahini

The top coat is also ALTEX brand Acryl Recoatable Polyurethane with a part A - Colour and part B - Hardener.

Pete sprayed about 6 - 8 coats gradually thinning the mixture withU20 thinner to finish with a high gloss.

I will sand this after about a week with 1000grit wet and dry and then cut and polish.

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Well now her bottom has now been finished it is time to turn my plywood boat over.

Malahini's bottom

Was I worried, no not me, didn't sleep for a week and then it was surprisingly easy.

Malahini's bottom

But then I did have help from seven of my mates.

Malahini's bottom

Amazing what blokes will do for free beer.

Now that she is the right way up I can begin fitting the deck framework.

Malahini's deck frames

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Malahini's engine well

This picture shows the motor well which still needs a bit of a trim on top before the deck goes on, curved of course because square would be too easy.

I have attached the aluminium motor plate as well and some drain plugs.

The grey plastic shape past the motor well is for the Bimini to fold down into, which will have a cover over it, curves once again.

You can also see the floor and some frame work for the rear bench seats.

I have used some ply as a template for the dash so I can fit all the instruments and steering wheel.

I will then use this template to cut out the real dash which will be Huon Pine.


I have now faired the motor well and Bimini cradle.bimini

This Photo shows the Bimini Hood Up.

And this next photo shows how neatly the Bimini folds away into the cradle.

plywood boat

plywood on frame boat

I have now started decking my plywood boat.

The open section at the rear will have a hatch for storage. 


transomeIts getting pretty cold here again so the glues I am using are being difficult hence I have been dry fitting the deck rails etc so that they can be glued later when it starts to warm up again.

I have made a couple of covers for the back hatch's and a trailer. ( still some work to do on the trailer to finish off).


After the fiasco of the shed door not being wide enough to fit the trailer in so I could hoist my plywood boat onto it, plan (B) came into effect.

In other words build a gantry outside using scaffolding.

andrews gantry

Worked pretty well.

Need to make sure wheels are in the right place and position post for winch and then back to johns to finish welding and put all the lights etc on.

Engine getting worked on at the moment as well.

Deck rails

Deck rails almost done

Curved Seats

I have almost finished the curved rear seating.
Just need to trim the top and then it can be upholstered.

I have finished all the deck rails, just waiting for a bit of warmer weather so I can glue them on.


Have dry fitted a few more things.

The deck is actually Myrtle and a lot more colourful than the photo.


The detail at the front need some more planing to round off.

Have installed the petrol tank under the front deck

foredeck detail

Still waiting on some warm weather to start gluing.

outboardAs the Hobartians would know we have had a lot of rain (only on the weekends though with sunny weather during the week) and the boat has been outside while I finished the trailer. 

Had to be outside because the boat had to come on and off the trailer using winches and the scaffolding, which is now gone) while I fitted it to the boat, got it checked and registered.

outboard hatch

The boat is back in the shed now and
I can work on it even if its raining ( as it was again today).

Engine has been fully rebuilt and repainted.
She will be in the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart February 11th to 14th 2011 so come and have a look.

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I have had some time to work on the boat ‘cause I'm on Holidays.


And can actually begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Faro da Magica


Pete sprayed a couple of coats of sealer on the boat to prep it for the final spray.

Some more fine sanding this weekend and then finishing topcoats next week.

1 week to go to the Wooden Boat Festival and the boat is getting there.



Pete has undercoated, painted and glossed the exterior (a brilliant job thanks Pete) and it’s now ready to bring back home and fit-out.


Seats should be ready in the next couple of days and sign-writing will be done during the week (thanks DJ).


A bit of work still to do but should be all done by Friday.


A few things still to do which may have to be done at the Wooden Boat festival but all the main stuff pretty much done.

faro da magia

Finally took "Faro da Magia" out for her maiden run.

A pretty windy, choppy day so didn't get to open up the throttle to much.

Did get up on the plane pretty quickly and she went where I steered her and didn't leak any water.

So all in all pretty happy (understatement of the year).

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Just Beautiful

I've been thinking about a similar project, you've inspired me.
I need a good shed first.
It's pretty damp here in winter.

Stephen Williams, Mount Beauty

More on the background to Andrew's Mahalinl >>>>>

If you are building or restoring a wooden boat we would love to hear from you.

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